Thread: Lost Ship
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Old 7th January 2020, 16:49
Harry Nicholson United Kingdom Harry Nicholson is offline
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Whitby, North Yorkshire
Posts: 51
Lost Ship

I've been ferreting in my files and found an old poem. The loss of 'Minocher Cowasjee' in 1957, Central Indian Ocean. I took part in the distress traffic. It does not use the Rennaisance affectation of rhyming line endings, but is more akin to Saxon verse.

Lost Ship

We saw nothing on the wind-glazed surface,
nothing floating in the spume as we steamed
across her track on the chart;
no scrap of cargo, no boiler suit,
nor a crumb of last night’s rice.

In the dark we’d talked
in bursts of dots and dashes,
that other man and me.
We’d clung in chairs chained to the deck,
one hand on the tuning knob
chasing each other’s warbling signals
as masts swayed
and phosphor-bronze aerials swung out
wild over the troughs;
the other hand thumping a big brass key -
in the cyclone.

It was sixty years ago - she flew the flag of Pakistan,
a new country. But the ‘Minocher Cowasjee’ was old
I now discover - launched as ‘Parisiana’
by Irvine’s yard in Hartlepool, where my father -
back from his war with Kaiser Bill - might well
have hammered rivets into her - hard against
his own dad’s hammer on the other side of the plate.

Three miles down they’re rusted now, those rivets;
strewn about, forgotten, like Asian mother’s tears.
She’s just another hull - after all,
the ocean floors are flung with ships...

Harry Nicholson, July 2007

revised 2017
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